Having strong corporate communications can help your business weather just about any storm. Most of us know how important it is to have great public relations and manage our marketing messages, but it’s also essential to be communicating well with employees and improving internal communications during a crisis.
Internal communications are too often overlooked. Of course, when a crisis hits, people often start thinking about internal communications and how to keep everyone calm and informed. Unfortunately, by then it’s often too late to properly form a solid communications strategy or even identify which tools to use for company-wide communications that'll get noticed--it’s much better to be thinking ahead and planning for the inevitable.
Simply put, is your organization ready to communicate effectively with employees if an active shooter situation happens nearby? Or if a disgruntled employee becomes violent? It’s not easy to think about, but it’s so much better to be safe than sorry. Planning ahead can be hard, but it’s not impossible. You can prepare yourself to communicate more effectively when it really counts.
With that in mind, here are four books that can help your organization nail the internal communications process and be better prepared. These are great reads for corporate communications departments, HR personnel, or really anyone who wants to communicate more effectively when worst-case scenarios happen in a corporate setting.
Four Books About Improving Internal Communications During A Crisis
1. Sandcastles in the Tide: The Value of Employee Communications in the Context of Change by Jack LeMenager
Having the ability to manage change and deal with a crisis as a company, according to LeMenager, has a lot to do with building effective communications and engagement with employees from the beginning before the crisis hits. Waiting for a crisis to set up the right communications channels and strategies is far too late. This book explains why good internal communications are essential and talks about how your organization can rethink and rebuild how it communicates. For your organization, this may mean looking at how effectively your communications channels actually engage employees.
As you read LeMenager’s book, it may be helpful to ask yourself how well your company is actually using employee communications. Are you ready for a crisis? LeMenager will tell you that the only constant at your organization is change, whether or not you see it. Rethinking your communications strategy is a worthwhile goal; Sandcastles in the Tide challenges you to do just that.
2. Crucial Conversations: Tools For Talking When Stakes Are High by Patterson, Grenny, McMillan and Switzler
Frankly, a lot of people are really bad at having difficult conversations. It’s never more important to have these conversations, though, than when the stakes are really high. Crucial Conversations is about how to talk through those circumstances with clarity, persuasion, and honesty. As a communicator, you need to be prepared for situations where these difficult conversations may not even be possible one-on-one. Corporate communications often necessitate communicating difficult information through media such as newsletters, emails, and conference calls.
Even when communication is more impersonal, it takes a serious mindset shift for many of us to be able to handle high-stakes communications in an emergency. Even seasoned professionals can encounter situations where emotions run high and interfere with effective communications. Read Crucial Conversations for insights on how to communicate those difficult messages, stay on topic, and persuade when it’s even more critical than ever.
3. Sync or Swim: A Fable About Workplace Communication and Coming Together in a Crisis by Chapman, White, and Myra
This book is a workplace communications story that may just inspire you to action and help you start thinking about how your team will lead employees through the next emergency. Written as an enjoyable fable about a sheepdog CEO and his company’s encounter with a coming storm, Sync or Swim was written to get you thinking about the kind of communications you need to use and the mindset communicators need when a serious crisis hits. Will you respond to the storm the way Sam the sheepdog does? Don’t let your company be swept away.
4. Avoiding Disaster: How to Keep Your Business Going When Disaster Strikes by John Laye
Unfortunately, many businesses simply aren't prepared for natural disasters and stand to lose a lot if one were to actually happen. Natural disasters are inevitable and no human being has control over them, so it just makes sense to have contingency plans and communication strategies in place before the worst happens.
In Avoiding Disaster, Laye walks managers through strategies that can help them stay ahead of possible disasters and protect their businesses if the worst should occur. He also includes information you can use during the disaster itself, so you have a practical guide to help in the midst of chaos. The book covers natural disasters, but it also has information on preparing for man-made disaster scenarios, too.
Improve Your Workplace Critical Communication
These four books are all great resources for thinking about critical communications at your workplace. If you want to dig deeper, though, it’s also important to look at how to help employees tune-in better to critical communications by examining the data on how prepared workplaces really are for the inevitable.
Our whitepaper, Workplace Safety and Preparedness: Survey of Full-Time Employees from Industries across the U.S., offers insights to help you improve workplace critical communications and emergency preparedness. Get your copy to discover which modes of communication today’s employees prefer and learn which emergency plans lack the most awareness.